State Comptroller and Ombudsman, Matanyahu Englman, attended the 13th Israel Conference on Mediation and opened the session on the subject of mediation as an instrument for resolving complaints of the public. The State Comptroller and Ombudsman welcomed the conference participants and underscored the importance of mediation as a central instrument in the toolbox of the Office of the Ombudsman.
The session on mediation as a tool for public complaint resolution, offered by the Conference for the first time this year, was moderated by Dr. Esther Ben-Haim, Head of the Office of the Ombudsman, within the Office of the State Comptroller. Dr. Ben-Haim described the process of mediation and its elements as applied by the Office of the Ombudsman, presented the unique challenges encountered by mediators of the Office and related how adjustments had been made due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among the other participants in the session, were Ms. Sima Sinai, the person in charge of quality of service in the Jerusalem municipality and Ms. Ira Wallach, coordinator of Be’er-Sheva’s Center for Mediation and Dialogue in the Community. They spoke of their successful collaboration with the mediation teams of the Office of the Ombudsman, led by Revital Rotenstein-Aneni, Adv., and conveyed that the principles of dialogue, discussion and cooperation benefit the complainants and promote the common interests of all sides involved in the process.
In closing the session, the Head of the Office of the Ombudsman called for public bodies to identify mediation "agents" who can serve to introduce mediation to public bodies, to make them amenable to the process and to augment their cooperation with mediation centers in the community.
The Mediation Conference was arranged in order to provide a platform for peer learning, at the initiative of various organizations involved in mediation in Israel including: community centers for mediation and dialogue; "Gishurim", the National Program for Promotion of Dialogue and Conflict Resolution in the Community; the Conflict Resolution, Management and Negotiation Program at Bar-Ilan University; the Ministry of Labor, Welfare and Social Services; and the Mosaica Center for Conflict Resolution by Agreement.